Only you and your spouse really know for sure what caused the irreparable problems in your marriage. Whether you were the one who filed for divorce or the one who did nothing to contest your spouse's petition, there will no doubt be numerous issues you must resolve before you can leave the past behind and get on with your life. If you're a parent, such issues will, of course, include child-related matters, such as custody, visitation or support.
You may also be concerned about things like finances or what you will do with your home or car when the time comes for property division proceedings. If your spouse is acting suspicious and you have reason to believe he or she may be hiding assets to keep you from getting a fair shake in court, you'll want to thoroughly investigate the situation. It's also good to have a plan of action in mind to help bring a hidden asset problem to a screeching halt.
A spouse trying to hide assets might do these things
Some spouses are quite skilled at making illegal activity appear perfectly innocent and normal. For instance, many spouses do one or more of the things included in the following list when they're trying to beat the system:
- Has your spouse told you that he or she owes money to a friend or relative? Pretending to pay back a loan is a common way to hide assets in divorce.
- Actually hiding money is another typical means for hiding assets in divorce. Don't hesitate to search the house, your vehicles, the garage or even a new mound of dirt that has suddenly appeared in the backyard when your spouse has never been too keen about gardening.
- Both spouses must be fully transparent when it comes to disclosing assets in divorce. It is perfectly acceptable for you to request an itemized list and to inquire about any assets you suspect might be missing from the list.
- When is the last time you reviewed your bank statement on your jointly owned account? If someone made withdrawals without your knowledge, it's a definite red flag signal that you might have a hidden asset problem on your hands.
- If your spouse owns a business and there are new employee names on the payroll but you haven't noticed any new people in the workplace, you might want to further investigate the situation. Paying ghost employees is a tricky way of hiding assets.
You shouldn't be afraid to ask your spouse about any financial issue that causes you concern. If he or she meets your questions with a combative or highly defensive attitude, it might be a sign of a problem.
What to do about your suspicions
If you confront your spouse, he or she might deny your accusations. You deserve your fair share of marital assets when you divorce. The judge overseeing your case is not likely to look favorably on your spouse if he or she is stashing cash or otherwise trying to keep you from getting what is rightfully yours. Hiding assets is illegal, and you can seek the court's intervention to help rectify the problem.